This has been a bad year for hunting. It is the first year since 1975 that I missed Bow Season, my yearly religious sabbatical. Today is only the third time this year Ive been able to get to the woods, which is REAL unusual for me, but since Ive had a streak of not missing an opening day of gun season for 34 years, I had to go. It was a beautiful morning on Hurricane Mountain. I was in my blind an hour and fifteen minutes before first light, after not sleeping a wink all night long. The stars were as bright as I have ever seen them. I sat facing Orion and tried to find as many constellations as I could while I waited for sun up. One by one the stars faded and the night sounds slowly gave way to the silence that comes just before the first bird chirps for the new day. I felt under pressure since The Flathead Willie Family loves to eat venison, and so far, all I had to show for my first two outings was two does, one of which I gave to the land owner. However, I had a feeling that things would work out alright. As the overgrown and neglected pasture in front of my blind started to lighten up, I scanned the wood line of the planted pine thicket 200 yards in front of me through my binoculars. From where I sat, the land dropped about 50 vertical feet to a small drainage 100 yards away and then rose sharply to the edge of the trees. I swept the binos back and forth working my way closer to the blind until I caught the flicker of a tail about 150 yards away. It was a deer, then another, then another then another. As the field lit up I could make out two big does and two small ones. I watched them for about a half hour as they fed around an old Pear tree and gradually worked their way toward the pines. The two biggest deer were just about to disappear into the woods when I thought I had better take one of them for the freezer. I picked up my 30-06 and tried to find a good shot. All I could see was the North end of a South Bound Whitetail. Not Good! I watched them move into a thicket and contemplated taking one of the two fawns that were still in the open. Right then another doe came into view from the left edge of my field of view. Her tail was at half mast, and I knew something had to be behind her since the rut is in. As I leaned forward and strained to see further to the left of the blind, I saw antlers jump an old barbed wire fence. A nice buck was following her toward the Pear tree. I knew Id only have seconds to get on him before they both got into the thick stuff. As soon as he stopped, the Ruger roared and six tails went in six different directions. I chambered another round and kept my eye on the buck until he disappeared behind a bushy pine that stood alone 50 yards from the Pear tree, hoping he would stop again. Five tails entered the woods .but not six. That was a good sign. I tried to calm my nerves, and once again scanned the field with the binoculars. A half hour passed and then two more does came across the field. They fed along the wood line 200 yards away. While I watched them, I caught movement in the pines. I swung the glasses up and saw a buck chasing two does through the trees, above the two that were feeding. I thought, I must have missed him! How could that be? This is the same place I sighted my rifle in and I knew the distance. The shot felt good. I saw the buck a few more times while he darted back and forth between the pines but I couldnt get on him. Eventually all the deer passed over to the next property and the field was empty. I had to find out what happened before another deer came by. I left the blind, scurried down the hill, across the branch and up the other side of the field. I headed straight for the bushy pine where I had last seen the buck. As I walked around the tree, I found a beautiful 3 year old 9 pointer piled up in a briar patch. What a relief! The shot was right behind the shoulder, and my buck was down and it was only 7:45am. I dressed the deer, and since it was going to be a warm day, I decided to head for the processor 15 miles away. I dragged him to the truck and off we went. After checking the buck in and putting it in the cooler, I decided to stick it out and go back to the farm and try for another one. I was dead tired, but knew that this might be my last day to hunt this year. I figured that if I tried to sit in the blind, I would fall asleep and waste the day. I thought my only chance was to go to the deer. When I got there, I parked in a hay field and checked the wind. It was blowing right up the mountain, right to where the deer were. Hunting cross wind meant criss-crossing the mountain, up and down, and that was exhausting. I came up with a plan to head to the far left side of the property where an old logging road went straight up to the top. I could still hunt my way up, and from there, cross to the middle and work my way down through the planted pines. This property has hard woods on both sides and pines in the middle. I left the 30-06 in the truck and took my 30-30 instead. As I started my stalk up the mountain, the leaves crunched like potato chips. I knew I couldnt sneak up on a deer in these conditions. Then I thought about a buck I had taken several years ago. I heard him coming 100 yards away because he come at a steady pace and grunted with almost every step. I cut a sapling to use as a shooting/walking stick, and the cover the sound of a two legged creature. I headed up the mountain with my grunt tube in my mouth, my gun in one hand and the stick in the other. I moved very slowly going step, step, grunt, step, step grunt, step, grunt. Every 50 yards I used my can call and gave a couple does calls. As I got to the top, the logging road levels off and crosses the property along a fence line. I continued my sneak; step, step, grunt, etc. I got half way across the top of the mountain. Another 75 yards and I could turn right and head down through the pines where it would be quieter and I would have the wind in my face. Al of a sudden I caught movement and looked up to see a buck heading straight for me. I was wide open! I took three more steps, grunting with each one, until I could lean up against a tree just to the right of the logging road. The buck continued coming down the trail straight at me until he was 15 years away. I put the sights on his shoulder and pulled the trigger. The deer dropped in his tracks. The 180 grain soft point went into his left shoulder and come out right next to the twins. It was 12:10PM and I had a 3 year old 9 pointer and a 3 year old 8 pointer on the ground! It took me 1 ½ hours to drag him off the mountain, but it was worth it. Id do it again tomorrow if I could, but alas, you cant hunt on Sunday in Virginia!!